Brain game: how we see colour – in fireworks and on screens | Daniel Glaser

Daniel Glaser explains the difference between the chemical and digital technologies used to represent colour

Fireworks may have been invented in 7th century China but we are still trying to improve the chemical technology behind them. Unlike colour representation in digital technology, fireworks work on the eye and hence brain in an entirely different way.

Pyrotechnicians use chemicals to make the colours: strontium carbonate (red), barium chloride (green) and sodium nitrate (yellow). Yet our visual processing system means that we can’t distinguish between these colours and ones that appear on the screen.

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